Banerjee Road in Kochi is indeed a hotspot of food ethnicity. You may get a paneer butter masala or a veg tikka anywhere in this city, but nothing that tastes like their authentic Punjabi counterparts at 'Sardarji Ka Dhaba,' a place where buoyant, boisterous ‘balle balle’ cheers echo in every corner.
One the oldest north Indian restaurants in Kochi, 'Sardarji Ka dhaba' is owned by natives of Punjab who settled down in Kerala almost half a century ago. The restaurant serves both Punjabi preparations as well as their Keralite adaptations. With two separate floors for vegetarian and non-vegetarians, ‘Sardarji Ka Dhaba’ is a perfect place for the fans of tandoori and matki preparations.
The restaurant's ambiance calls for a festive mood with its wall-hung little dhols and ektaras. The 'dhabawalas' have placed a huge dhol at the entrance, which any satisfied customer can play and rejoice. Hand paintings, which portray the rural Punjabi life and folklore, adorn the interiors. Even the table mats are printed with Punjabi themed paintings.
A plate of butter rotis and a single portion of mixed veg tikka would tell us why this dhaba is so famous here. The curry comes in a generous amount, garnished with coriander leaves and cheese. One portion of the curry would easily serve two people. Steaming rotis, wet with molten butter would make you drool like never before as it melts in your mouth.
The aroma of rich butter, thick spicy gravy and fresh corn flour would take you to straight to a rural village in Punjab. Wait before jumping for your favorite kulfi or lassi. The Punjabi preparation of ginger lime is loud and bubbly like the cheerful giggles of a young Sardarni. A tall lassi and a glass full of ginger flavored lemonade would quench your thirst in a hot noon in Kochi. When the ginger fumes reach deep inside your intestines, find yourself slightly sweating. Please release that loud burp now; yes, you are so full.
Refresh yourselves with the colorful and tangy 'meetha saumph' or the sweet cumins kept at the reception. Isn't it the perfect Punjabi midday meal experience?